Saturday, 22 June 2013

Mass Effect 2 Video

Good Morning...afternoon...evening...Good Time ladies and gentlemen!

Just a quick video from MonkeyBoxGaming - Where Games Go To Be Loved Up And Down.


I hope you enjoyed it .


Thursday, 20 June 2013

Xbox One U-Turn - And My Last Word On It

Well hello there!

I've seen some ridiculous shit online and in real life, but one thing that strikes me as hilarious is Microsoft Interactive's Don Mattrick going back to the gaming world with his tail between his legs admitting he was wrong.

Amazon's PS4 vs Xbox One Poll. Closed a week early at the above score.
I knew it. The vast majority of the online community knew it. Subject matter experts knew it. It's why the Xbox One performed so badly against the PS4 in every online poll that I saw. It's why Amazon had to remove their Facebook poll a good week early because the PS4 was winning with just shy of 95% of the vote from over 40,000 people (see above). And because of all this, Mr Mattrick said the following:

"An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games - after a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24-hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.

"Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today - there will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360."

So they listened. About fucking time if you ask me. From the moment they saw the winds blowing the way they were, the heads of sheds at Microsoft Interactive should have had a meeting that lasted about 5 minutes that should have gone like this:

"So, Sony have delivered a blow to us that could put us behind Wii U in the console race this generation...we can't be behind the Wii U. Only 24 people in the world own a Wii U and they all surely regret their decision."

"Right, so do we remove the crappy DRM that everyone is raging about?"

"Maybe. Let's wait a week and a half."

"What do we do in the meantime if we're asked any questions on the issue?"

"Leave that to me...Captain Mattrick."

That's right for the past week, the Xbox One party line was - If you don't like it, stick with our 8 year old device. In the infamous words of Carlos Irwin Estévez: Winning.

Anyway, before I of all people get accused of being a Sony fanboy (not overly sure how this is possible by the way - will explain shortly) I must say that this massive U-Turn is a potential game changer. Not incredibly so though, since the specifications and added extras that the PS4 offer are what normal people look for. 

Some have argued that the extra cost of the Xbox One is due to the inclusion of Kinect. But surely, the Kinect should be an OPTIONAL extra to the console, not something that must be tacked on whether you like it or not. Some have argued that Sony are imitating the Microsoft's pay-for subscription for playing online, but Sony with their subscription are including Netflix (which itself is usually what, 5-6 quid a month on it's own?) as well as access to the instant games library, which to the uneducated, gives you approximately $150 worth of free games a year. I'm sorry but if anyone can really look at the 2 subscriptions and think you get anything like that with Xbox Gold, then you're obviously deluded and so blinded by your own fanboyishness that you cannot see the truth.

Now I'm a rational person who thinks decisions through. I have to be. I'm a father of 4 children, I have a house to run, I work a full time job working alongside the RAF. The personal decision from me to buy either an Xbox One or PS4 isn't just a cut and dried "Oh I have an Xbox 360, I'm going to get an Xbox One" because it's an investment of almost £500. I can't afford to just make a decision based on faux facts, speculative workings, and my previous preferences because quite frankly - I have no previous preferences.

This has nothing to do with this blog. I just love the Xzibit Yo Dawg Meme.
I'll take you on a short trip down my own gaming life, (not like the blog the other day). My first console that was all my own was a SNES. The next gen, I had an N64 and a PS1. The next gen I had an Xbox and a PS2. And now this gen, I own a PS3 and an Xbox 360. And with every console I've owned, I've appreciated the pro's of all of them and accepted the cons of all of them as well. The PS3's hacking debacle was a massive hammer blow to the confidence of Sony - they fucked up bad and it's still fresh in the memory for a lot of people. The Xbox for me and a lot of people had it's own hacking and security problems. My own account was hacked twice, and close to £100 siphoned from my bank account. 

The official word from Microsoft on contacting them is that sometimes their system, when people pay for MS Points through the console, takes money from random peoples accounts - I swear on my daughters life, this was their official line to me. It was a case of, "yeah sorry about that...oh well." So this left me feeling betrayed by a company I had put a lot of faith and my own cash in to. But even with this, never ever have I ever put more stock into one console over another, both consoles have great games, and great abilities within their chassis'. Both have their flaws, and neither are perfect, but both are amazing machines. I can say this with a completely unbiased view, because unlike others who claim to be unbiased - I have owned every Sony console, and every Microsoft console.

Whereas some who claim to be unbiased, claim so because they use Microsoft Windows and have a Sony device like a TV or camera. I'm sorry, but that doesn't make someone unbiased. That makes someone grasping at straws to look unbiased. The only unbiased opinions, come from those who have owned and cherished consoles from both sides.

My real, actual unbiased opinion at the moment though? Neither of them. They're both overpriced, they'll both have their problems (RRoD = Xbox 360, YLOD = PS3 anyone?), and the games that will be available on them that I'll want will most likely also be available on Steam or Origin on PC. Eventually, I don't know, I'll wait and see some real reviews once they're out later this year. So my own answer to "PS4 or Xbox One?" neither. Not least for a year or two or even three - that's why my opinion is truly unbiased, and that's why this is my last word on the matter.

Full Stop. 


Edit: Formatting updated.

Friday, 14 June 2013

An End, Once And For All

Last post of the evening! Promise!

I just thought I'd share with you all one of my favourite, if not my absolute favourite piece of music from a computer game.

In fact, this piece of music is one of my favourite pieces of music from any medium.

It's called "And End, Once And For All", composed by Clint Mansell and Sam Hulick. This version is from the Extended Cut of Mass Effect 3.

Sit back and enjoy.


Wolfenstein: The New Order

Hello there!

Just posting a quick trailer for the new Wolfenstein game - Wolfenstein: The New Order.

The game shows an alternative history where the Nazi's won WWII, nuked New York, landed the first human on the Moon and took over the world.

Luckily BJ Blazkowics is back, he's bad, and he's gonna save the mother funking world.

Right, I'm off to play some games.


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

PS4 vs Xbox One

Hello there!

Now I'd usually write a great long blog about this, but instead I decided to do a video slideshow type thing and whacked it on YouTube. Enjoy! Or Don't! Your choice!

Subscribe on YouTube if you want to see more videos that will only get better as we go! :)


Tuesday, 11 June 2013


Hello there!

It's me! Toolbox24! And just like MonkeyBoySteve earlier, I'm here with a new video from the MonkeyBox.

It's a small video that can be found on my YouTube channel (search for MBGToolbox24) showing the indie game - Cogs. Uploading and commentating on games is a new thing for me personally, so expect the videos to get better.



Flight of the Kerbals and Danny Glover

I suck at Kerbal space program, but it is one of those games that people can really really suck at but still have fun with it.

I have put around 30 hours into it and have now just learned (albeit not very well) how to actually play it.

I have created a series of video's that show exactly how much skill I have at this fantabulous game (f*ck all)

I will hopefully post a lot of videos in this series and progress my skill steadily the whole time, although chances are I will soon forget to post them and just look like a foolish Kerbal lover.

I am awful at finishing a video series I create, take the Danny Glovber show for instance....It has been years since I posted a proper video in the series, is it because they are shit? maybe....or is it because I am lazy? more likely.

The first Let's Play Video in all it's glory...


Saturday, 8 June 2013

My Life at the Controller

The Joy of Gaming – My Life at the Controller

It may come as no surprise to you that I have a certain passion and love of gaming. And that passion and love comes years of gaming, and being a part of a family growing up that appreciated the joy of gaming as well.

I have so many different memories growing up in a gaming household, it’s not a fucking wonder that I’m a gamer myself!

Firstly, with my Dad. There was a game back in the day that I loved. Bear in mind, I’d have been about 3 or 4 I think. The game was on the PC, on MS-DOS, and it was a QBasic game called Gorillas. Some of you might not have heard of it, some of you might go “SHIT ME!!!! I REMEMBER THAT!!!” Chances are though, that you’re one of the former.
Gorillas QBasic.
The game was as basic as it comes, but also required a degree of skill and logic. Picture the scene…2 giant gorillas, angry with each other for some reason, climb to the roof tops of some random city, and try to kill each other by throwing exploding bananas at each other. And that was the game. Basic – yes? Complex – actually, a bit yeah, you see to throw your banana, you had to punch in your angle and velocity, and take into account wind direction and speed!

Now after doing a slight bit of digging, it’s good to see that it’s still knocking about and you can still play the game online or even on your smartphone. How far we’ve come.

The experience of throwing virtual bananas and hitting the target against my Dad was – I’m pretty sure – my first computer gaming experience, and it was a multiplayer one! It taught me basic physics, healthy competition, how to take losing as well as winning and the fun of blowing things up in a virtual world.

Moving on to my dear mother. Bless her. To look at her, you’d think what a lovely lady, she’s a writer (pretty awesome short-story writer, check her bloggy out here) she’s a small woman (just over 5ft), she’s sweet as sugar, and a loving, doting grandmother to all her grandchildren. Not to mention an avid animal lover, and a person who always put the needs of others before her own. Awwww.

Until she gets on her computer to play instead of write…

Then she transforms from the lovely lady I described above into…a ferocious gaming pioneer. Seriously. A mother fucking pioneer, bitches. My first experience of the new wave of computer games, branching on from basic Yahtzee and Gorillas was watching my mother break free from…Castle Wolfenstein. In fact – again I hope I’m getting this right – my Mum was one of the first people outside of the US, shit outside of Mesquite, Texas to play the game, with my Dad ordering our copy of the game direct from iD Software which at the time consisted of 4 programmers (Messrs A + J Carmack, Hall and Romero).
But yes, the cult classic Wolf3D was played extensively by my mum, and being only a little boy at the time, I’d sit by her and watch her playing the game for what seemed like hours. And I’d sit there, memorising as much as I could. So when she played it again on a harder difficulty, I’d be there, letting her know when the harder guards were going to turn up, or where a secret passageway was.

To be honest, my mum is still quite the gamer, it was by no means a 1-game-wonder. She later got the newer versions of Wolfenstein along with some other games like Sanatorium and Phantasmagoria. And has always retained a good interest in video games, and has supported my interest in them to this day!

I couldn’t write a blog about this sort of stuff though and not mention my siblings – my older brother and sister. Now the age gap was pretty big, nothing like them already being grown up or anything, but big for kids. I am 6 years younger than my brother and 9 years younger than my sister. Fortunately for me though, as computer games became more prevalent, I would watch on and feel all grown up and whatnot!

I’ll start with age before beauty, and let you know a little bit about my older sister’s gaming habits, before I delve a little bit further into the pair of them…the rapscallions.

I’ll illuminate 2 games that my sister used to play, or at least what I can remember my sister playing quite regularly. The first game, is SimTower. A seemingly simple game which is a lot more complicated that it’s first appearance – especially if you want to actually complete the damn thing! My sister was bloody great at that, and I’d love sitting by, watching her tower grow. Or just checking in to see how many more floors her tower had since last time! The other games were a bit heavier hitting, it was Rise of the Triad: Dark War or ROTT for short. A game that was originally meant to be called Wolf3d II: Rise of the Triad, but changed was a first person shooter which I don’t think got the recognition it deserved, because it was released in the mid 90’s when if the FPS you were playing wasn’t Doom or Quake, then what the fuck was the point?
Rise of the Triad (Original)
Fortunately for my sister and those who were fans of ROTT there is due to be a rebooted version coming to Steam and courtesy of another rebooted company – Apogee. Just make your way to for more information.

Then we move on to my older brother, now I used to watch him playing games for hours on end, it’s probably no surprise that I learnt a lot from him. Now a couple of the games I’ll mention are these: Panzer General II and Grim Fandango. Both brilliant games, and both very different games as well.

We’ll start with Grim Fandango – considered to be one of the greatest games ever made. An old school LucasArts point-and-click adventure surrounding the events of Manny Calavera as he tries to make his way in “the Epic tale of Crime and Corruption in the Land of the Dead”. I wont say too much more, but know that it’s an amazing game with a fantastic film-noir-esque storyline.

Panzer General II might have slipped you by, and you almost certainly won’t have heard of it if you’re a gamer of the Naughties. But it was a brilliant tactical game where you controlled the tanks and armies of the Third Reich, and if you did well enough – you’d be able to invade the UK and sack Windsor Castle or invade the USA and steal their plans for a nuclear warhead. Suffice to say, I learned a lot about tactical gameplay and story-driven gameplay from the older brother.
Maniac Mansion 2: Day of the Tentacle
Then there were the games us kids would play as a family. I say we would play as a family, firstly I mean the games I would watch my brother and sister playing! First, I remember vividly them both playing Maniac Mansion 2: Day of the Tentacle, an absolutely amazing classic old-school LucasArts point-n-click adventure, and they played it against each other in a way and I for a time was a messenger between the 2. If my brother got stuck on a bit that my sister had completed, I could relay the information upstairs to him and visa versa. It was good, but I don’t remember much of the actual game thinking back now…

The other game that is definitely worth a mention is Doom II. Back in the days of the mid-90’s multiplayer pretty much consisted of playing split-screen games sat next to each other. Then Doom II came along and blew our minds.

We connected the PC’s up on a home LAN, and fired Doom up. My sister would listen to Stevie Wonder, and I’d watch her, my brother and my brother-in-law playing Doom II together…while I’d watch.

It was all good, and I still can’t listen to Stevie Wonder without thinking of Doom or play Doom without thinking of Stevie Wonder. Weird huh?
While googling an image of Mr Wonder. I laughed hard.
Anyway it seems that I did a lot of watching as a child, but this all put me in good stead for when I would start gaming properly as a teenager and adult. It meant that I had patience beyond my years on games, had the ability to play games that were of a higher level than my age would suggest. And as an adult, I play games mainly for fun and as a form of escape – not to compete like making sure I get X many more achievement points than other people or to make sure I win every game I play online, I mean yeah it’s good to win and I complete to win, but I’m never gonna kick myself or think I’m a shitty gamer because I lost 20 games in a row. Fuck that shit, life’s too short.

The pleasure I get from gaming, is the same that film buffs get from watching those black and white film noirs with a smelly Frenchman in it, or a wine buff gets from sampling the finest wines from the world, or an avid reader gets from finding an author who captivates them from first page to last. And I owe that pleasure in no small part to my family.

I grew up in a gaming house…it’s no wonder I grew up to be the man I am today.